General Chemistry is a basic science course which explores the behavior of the smallest units of matter, atoms, molecules and their components. General chemistry also discusses many things about matter and how it interacts together.
Below is a list of topics commonly covered:
Phases of Matter and Principles of Matter
Molecules can change to become solid, liquid or gas. Principles of matter include the study of what matter is, what the smallest units of matter are, and how they react with each other.
Atomic structure is the study of atoms, the smallest units of matter which retain the properties on an element. An atom of differing elements are different from each other, and even a slight change in an atom causes the properties of that atom to change & become a different element.
Proficiency in chemical bonding equations need to be mastered or the student won’t be able to progress to more difficult chemistry courses. If you want to do well in this section, please take chemistry notes rather than simply relying on your textbook. Chemical bonding involves atoms coming together to form molecules and molecules coming together to form compounds. There are very strict rules about how things combine so learn them and do as many practice equations as you can!
Chemical reactions are discussed in detail in most texts. This is the study of how molecules change during a chemical change. An example of a chemical change would be the burning of paper.
In most beginning chemistry texts this topic is only touched up on. It has to do with temperature, Kelvin vs. Celsius and what that means, how energy, heat and matter work together. Very interesting topic which will be explored more in depth in higher level courses.
Acid, Bases and Solutions
In this section of most texts you will be studying information on the acid-base scale, what pH means, how and why to test for alkalinity. You will learn how acids and bases react when put together and why. You will learn about the properties solutions, mixtures, and about processes like osmosis, distillation, and solvents.
The periodic table is the table of all known chemical elements. It is arranged by atomic weight. Memorization of the atoms is very helpful in gaining a good grasp of the general chemistry material.
There are other topics covered in general chemistry courses but this is a good overview.
Textbooks used in General Chemistry vary from one school to the other, D. Ebbington’s General Chemistry Course appears to be quite popular. His book is called General Chemistry Edition 8 is the edition the most current at the present time. December 2011 the new edition, 9th, will be out. It is a very comprehensive text. It has been reported by more than one student that homework must be done & detailed notes taken In order to succeed in this general chemistry course. This text is listed for $213.95 for the 8th edition and $260.95 for the 9th edition. This book can be rented which lowers your cost substantially.
Fundamentals of General, Organic and Biological Chemistry, 6th edition, by John McMurray is quite a popular book. It has a to-the-point style and Dr. McMurray taught at Harvard. This book lists for $195.00. It can be rented for about one-quarter the list price.
The key to success in a general chemistry courses are much the same as any other course. Attend class, pay attention, ask questions when you don’t understand, do homework, study and make sure to keep your priorities in order so you can be successful in school. Have a great school year!